KOCHI: For the first time in the country, solar panels have been installed on an Indian warship.
The survey class vessel INS Sarvekshak, attached with the southern naval command, has been fitted with 18 sheets of solar panels atop its hangar. “It took about six months to put the entire system in place. We are now using solar energy for lights and a couple of air conditioners,” said Captain Rajesh Bargoti, commanding officer of the ship. The 300-watt panels generate about 5.4kW power.
Bargoti said one of the challenges faced by the project was that marine environments were not suitable for normal solar panels, as saline and humid surroundings would damage it. “Also, the wind speed can affect the panels, which may get uprooted while at sea. So, we had to look at flexible panels that had anti-rust properties, were marine compatible, could withstand high wind speeds, perform on flat installations and had very low weight,” he explained.
“We have 10 batteries which are used for storage. So, we have been using only solar power for the purpose of lighting during sail. When we are anchored, we use power supplied by the state electricity board and not diesel,” said electrical engineer Commander Sreejith Thampi.
He added that they were already noting down meter reading of solar power consumption so as to carry out a power audit and look at using solar power for more devices.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appreciated the innovation when the project was put on display at the exhibition organised by the Navy headquarters.